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Learn 100 Common Valley Birds: Species #68/100

Few things on earth fill us with as much delight as birds, and knowing them by name only adds to our pleasure. In California’s Central Valley, with only a little bit of effort, anyone can learn 100 local bird species. Valley residents almost daily come in contact with at least a dozen species that most […]

“Birder’s Logic” Leads to a Rare Pair in Stanislaus County

Jim Gain’s tours through nature can be seen here. So it’s a hot day in the San Joaquin Valley, the chores are done, you’ve got a few hours to yourself and you choose to visit one of the most unlikely places the average person might think of. Maybe only a dedicated birder could figure out […]

Fanciful Flycatchers: #18 in “Learn 100 Common Valley Birds” (Species 27 and 28/100)

An educator and naturalist, Jim Gain is also a superb photographer. We’re proud to publish his series, “Learn 100 Common Valley Birds.” Here is post #18. Be sure to visit Reflections of the Natural World for more of Jim’s fine work. ed. Ash-throated Flycatcher: Species # 28 The Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) is a medium-sized […]

Learn 100 Valley Birds #12: Wintering “White” Geese – Part II

In Part I of the Our Wintering “White” Geese post, we learned about the larger “white Goose with the Grinning Patch”, the Snow Goose. In this post, the star of the show is the smaller Ross’s Goose. Introduction The Ross’s Goose is a Fairly Common Winter Visitor found almost exclusively in winter in the Central […]

Learn 100 Valley Birds #11: White Geese Part I, Snow Goose

“Your first indication of their presence is the distant sound of baying hounds. As you look up, you see the sky flecked with tiny white moving shapes, which appear like snowflakes drifting lazily across the azure sky.” naturalist J. B. Grinnell There are two species of “white” geese in the Valley. The Snow Goose — […]

Learn 100 Valley Birds #10: Wood Duck

The Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) is arguably the most spectacularly beautiful duck in the Central Valley. It is a Fairly Common Year-round Resident throughout the wetlands and waterways of the valley. Similar to other dabbling ducks, the Wood Duck is an omnivore with a broad diet of seeds, fruits, and aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Appearance […]

Learn 100 Valley Birds #6: Loggerhead Shrike

The Loggerhead Shrike is a Fairly Common Resident in the San Joaquin Valley and can be found in grasslands, freshwater wetlands and chaparral habitats. There are two species of shrike regularly found in the US, the Loggerhead Shrike and the Northern Shrike. However, the Northern Shrike is a very rare vagrant to the Central Valley. […]

Learn 100 Valley Birds #5: Dark-eyed Junco

Among the many joys of birding, the arrival of winter visitors is an ongoing thrill. With September looming, birders and nature lovers will be looking forward to the arrivals of White- and Golden-crowned Sparrows as well as the distinctive “little birds with the hoods.” Here, Jim Gain gives us his usual spectacular images and the […]

Learn 100 Valley Birds #3: Common Valley Owls

Today’s post is another three-fer offering that includes the three owls that most Valley Visitors are likely to encounter in an urban setting: Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl and Western Screech-Owl. There are other possible owl species that one might come across in the grasslands and foothill woodlands away from town. One of those, the […]

Learn 100 Valley Birds #2: Anna’s Hummingbird

Jim Gain calls Anna’s Hummingbird, the second in the “Learn 100 Birds” series, a “three-fer” because it illustrates one of the basic tactics for building a local birding list. This tactic involves knowing a birding fundamental: Learn the most common bird and you will often also learn one or two other similar but less common […]